i drive... alot. while i drive i do one of 4 things: listen to tunes, talk on the phone, pray or listen to podcasts. this last 4 days i've spent a significant amount of time in the car and i've never been more thankful that Jarred and i respectively have two amazing pastors from the churches we've recently attended who podcast sermons that continue to grow and change us both as individuals and as a couple. mike erre, my pastor for 7 years of my life taught an incredible sermon on marriage that i listened to today and as i heard the way he described that men should treat women in dating and in marriage - i saw the man that is stealing my heart and becoming my best friend.
here's where i saw it: mike said, "single people, listen up. you will be married to her in whatever way you dated her. so ladies, does he serve you? do you see a willingness to place your well-being ahead of his own? is he a threat to your purity or a protector of it? does he demand his needs be met?"
this picture is what i see in my man. he serves me... he makes sure i'm taken care of, he opens my door, he loves me well and not only me but those he knows are important to me.
he is willing to place my well-being ahead of his own... remember how he's moving across the country to be with me as we speak? and all this because he knows how much i love my job and am not willing to give it up so he is giving up loads of things to be with me? remember that? he is a protector of my purity and not a threat... you get no details, but let's just say he's a man of his word and a man of integrity and i have never once felt like i was fighting that uphill battle alone. he doesn't demand his needs be met... in fact, he got me 8 jars of my favorite salsa in texas and is driving it to california, talk about meeting needs :)
he goes on to say: "I pray that men, in ever increasing yet ever imperfect ways you would place her well-being ahead of your own and you would begin to die to your entitlements and sacrifice to serve her. and women, in ever increasing yet ever imperfect ways you would respect and love your man, as he is, not as you want him. and ladies, would you respect a man who served you in that way? of course you would. and men, would you serve a woman who respected you in that way? of course you would."
people, i have NO PROBLEM respecting this man who has served me so well and sacrificed so much. i am blown away. in fact, i respect him and love him even more because of his willingness to die to his entitlements (a better paying job, cheaper rent, living near family, a bigger house) and sacrifice for me. it makes me want to do ANYTHING I CAN to love him, help him succeed and treat him with respect. it makes me ridiculously proud to call him mine.
then mike finishes with this - "men, women need us to delight in them... as they are. and ladies, we need you to respect us and to love us into our future. what happens when people start treating each other this way is that you get a picture of the gospel of Jesus."
good gracious i pray that our relationship is even the tiniest picture of the gospel of Jesus and that more and more as we grow as a couple - we show more grace, sacrifice more of ourselves, give more respect and love even deeper so that Jesus radiates through all that we are. this life is beautiful. this man is imperfectly incredible. i am beyond blessed.